Planning A Charity Golf Tournament

Looking for tips on planning a charity golf tournament? There are many factors to consider, so I’ll stick to the four main ones for this article. The success of your charity golf event revolves around maximizing player turnout, increasing pledge sizes, obtaining sponsored prizes, and choosing the right tournament play format.

Hosting A Charity Golf Event

Planning a Charity Golf Tournament

Player Turnout
Your success depends on how many players your charity golf tournament draws and how actively you have your players solicit sponsors for their own rounds.

To maximize turnout, you need to get major publicity for your event. That means putting out multiple press releases, getting local media coverage from newspapers and television stations, promoting your golf tournament through social media, and placing ads in the sports section of the local paper.

For the best results, put your press releases out through PR Web. Appoint a spokesperson to handle all media contacts and follow-up. For more tips, read my article on fundraising publicity.

Charity Golf Tournament Pledges
When planning a charity golf tournament, the key is getting each player to collect a significant amount of pledges. I recommend a minimum of $100 per player in pledges. I’ve also played in tournaments where that number was $250 per player.

Obviously, you want to motivate the participants to raise as much money as possible. Some groups offer incentives for the top pledge getters. Others seek corporate sponsorships for that firm’s players.

You can use a site like EventBrite.com to promote your event. Your event gets a master page and all participants get personal fundraising pages where sponsorship pledges can be collected online.

Pledge amounts determine the success of your charity golf event, so get input from experienced golfers and golf pros in your area.

Top Golfer Prizes
Generally speaking, you’ll draw more golfers if you have great prizes for longest drive, closest to the hole, hole in one, lowest team score, lowest actual score, and best adjusted score (handicap).

You solicit local merchants to sponsor those prizes. Work with an insurance-related prize company for things like the hole-in-one contest. That way you can offer a bigger prize for a much lower outlay.

Aim to get 100 golfers (25 foursomes) and your small group could easily raise $10,000 or more. Larger turnouts will net even more with some charity golf tournaments drawing 500 golfers competing for big prizes.

Plan Ahead
Obviously, bigger pledges, more golfers, corporate sponsorships combined with massive publicity will work wonders for the bottom line of your charity golf tournament. With the right combination of these factors and good advance planning, you can certainly raise $75,000 or more for a charitable cause.

Contact local courses for group rates. Be sure to mention that you are planning a charity event and ask for discounts on cart and greens fees. Once you decide on your preferred location, reserve the date and tee times well in advance.

Tournament Play Formats

For those who are participating in your charity golf and fund-raising tournament, it helps to pick a format they are familiar with. The three most common formats are scramble, best ball, and alternate shot.

Scramble
This format usually is played with groups of four, but it certainly can be played with more than four players, or as few as two.

In a scramble, each player tees off on each hole. The best of the tee shots then is selected, and all players play their second shot from that spot. advertisement

The process is repeated until the ball is holed. Keep in mind that when playing a scramble, you can drop your ball within one club length from where the chosen ball lies, but no closer to the hole.

Best ball
This format usually is for four-person teams. Each player on the team plays his or her own ball throughout the hole and the round. On each hole, the lowest score among the four players counts as the team score.

There can be two best ball formats, where you must count two balls on each hole. The more balls that count helps keep all of the players involved in the fate of the team.

Alternate shot
This format usually involves two-person teams and is a competition where the team alternates who hits each shot.

The first player hits the drive, the second player hits the second shot, the first player hits the third shot, and so on until the ball is holed. The team also alternates who hits the drive on each hole, so the same player doesn’t hit every drive.

Planning A Charity Golf Tournament – Final Tips

Plan ahead to maximize the success of your charity golf event. For best results, pick a weekday when courses and large blocks of tee times will be easier to reserve. You’ll often get the best rates by going to the course in person and talking to the pro or pro shop manager.

Corporate sponsors are another good way to go. Get some celebrities to golf with corporate bigwigs and you can easily raise $100k-$150k. Of course, convincing celebrities to donate their time takes some doing, but it’s well worth it.

If it’s your first golf tournament, be open to suggestions from other golfers. Consider working with a fundraising consultant who specializes in organizing charity golf tournaments. They work for a percentage of the gross, but you usually end up raising more funds due to their experience and sponsor contacts.

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